HOW DO I ACQUIRE A GORILLA PERMIT
Unlike other activities like game drives, boat cruises, hiking, birding nature walks name it, it is only gorilla, golden monkey and chimpanzee tracking that will require one to purchase a permit or pass before visiting/getting to hit the trails to have an encounter with these wild apes.
Uganda, Rwanda and D.R. Congo host these endangered apes will require every visitors (15 years and above are allowed to track) to buy this card issued by ORTPN/Rwanda Development Board for Rwanda-Volcanoes national park, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) for Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National parks and in DR Congo Virunga national park management.
The permit is a single entry pass and it is used by one person for a single day, so if you reserve the permit for a particular date and you don’t track, it is deemed invalid. For a Ugandan permit, it shows the region which you are to track from but doesn’t allocate the family or group that you will track as the group are given after briefing and according to the fitness of the trackers. Rwanda has established it’s self as a luxury destination and its permit goes for 1500USD, 400USD for D.R. Congo and 700USD for foreign non-residents and 600USD for foreign residents in Uganda.
Permits can be purchased online or by visiting Uganda Wildlife Authority head offices.
It is hassle free to purchase a safari with gorilla tracking as your tour operator will acquire the gorilla permit for you. Tour operators are allowed to register with Uganda Wildlife Authority, this gives them an opportunity to have a login in Account whereby they can access the Database for the permits. The company can book for a week before you make the payment and can get the permits after you have made the payment.
Uganda Wildlife Authority sells 152 permits on a daily, this means 152 people are on a daily basis in the forests of Bwindi and Mgahinga to track gorillas, and this is in the 4 sectors of Bwindi visiting 19 Gorilla groups. Also 8 habituation permits to 2 groups in Rushaga sector. In the past Uganda has registered a hike in the demand for gorilla permits during the high season of June- September and December to February. This causes competition and sell out for permits hence calling for travelers to book their permits early enough like six months before the travel date.
Travelling during the winter period in Europe or Rainy season March to May and October to November, there is less traffic to the parks and permits can easily be accessed.
Beat the long waits at Uganda Wildlife Offices as you wait to get your permit, let your tour operator work on your permit booking.